It was predicted at the beginning of 2009 that the recession would force consumers to go out less and spend most of their free time indoors, writes Stefan van de Giessen, channel manager at Comztek. It was also anticipated that this would have a positive spin off for the gaming industry as people sought indoor entertainment. This indeed came to pass and the 2009 Christmas season proved to be very profitable for the gaming industry.
Now that the “silly season” is behind us, shopping, and consequently sales patterns are back to normal. The market has, however, been able to maintain some of the momentum picked up at the end of 2009 due to the decreased recessionary pressures on the consumer. Both wholesale and retail stock turnover is relatively high, particularly in the case of console bundles such as Xbox 360 Elite bundled with Fable 2 and Halo 3 or the new Xbox 360 Elite bundled with Forza 3 and Halo ODST. Another highly anticipated bundle is the Xbox 360 Final Fantasy Super Elite, as this is the first time that Final Fantasy is released on the Xbox platform. There are also a number of Wii bundles that are finding favour among gamers.
The console war
Not much has been said about the consoles’ battle for supremacy in recent months. This is because the console space is very evenly poised at the moment, with very little separating the Wii, Xbox 360 and the PS3. However, the market is set to have a shakeup as console manufacturers start introducing cheaper next generation consoles, such as the Xbox Arcade, aimed at migrating the remaining previous generation gamers to the next generation.
Where does that leave the PC
PCs are always on the cutting edge with regards to processing power, graphics and realism. Combined with their easy upgradability, PCs remain developers’ prime targets for the release of new game titles as there is no limit on the developers in terms of specs. The specs on consoles on the other hand, remain static until a new console is released. Furthermore, gamers generally have their favourite platform per game genre. For instance, with strategy games like Command and Conquer and Starcraft, gamers prefer the PC platform as it allows for quick, accurate movement with the support of a mouse, while the consoles’ analogue sticks do not give such speed and precision.
What to expect in 2010
There are lots of games set to release in 2010. The most anticipated among these are:
* Alan Wake for Xbox 360, which will make its debut on 21 May 2010
* Fable 3, also on the Xbox – the release date for this has not yet been confirmed
* Command and Conquer 4 and Starcraft 2 for PC.
* Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction and Crysis 2